Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors]

The Interpreter's Instructions.

233 There is a desire in women to go neat and fine, and it is a comely thing to be adorned with that, which in God's sight is of great price. "Tis easier watching a night or two, than to sit up a

whole year together : so 'tis easier for one to begin to profess well, than to hold out as he should to the end."

“Every ship-master, when in a storm, will willingly cast that overboard that is of the smallest value in the vessel : but who will throw the best out first ? None but he that feareth not God.? k One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner.' (a) - He that forgets his friend, is ungrateful unto him: but he that forgets his Saviour, is unmerciful to himself."

"He that lives in sin, and looks for happiness hereafter, is like him that soweth cockle, and thinks to fill his barn with wheat or barley.' " "If a man would live well, let him fetch his last day to him, and make it always his company-keeper.'

«Whispering and change of thoughts prove that sin is in the world.'

If the world, which God sets light by, is counted a thing of that worth with men ; what is heaven, that God commendeth >

'If the life that is attended with so many troubles, is so loth to be let

go what is the life above ?" “Every body will cry up the goodness of men ; but who is there, that is, as he should be, affected with the goodness of God p

«We seldom sit down to meat, but we eat and leave : so there is in Jesus Christ more merit and righteousness than the whole world has need of.' (b)

(a) By repentance and faith in Christ, the leaks that sin hath made are, as it were, stopqued; but one sin, habitually committed with allowance, proves a man's profussion hypocritical, however plausible it may be in all other respects ; as one leak unstopped will as. suredly at length sink the ship.

(3) This observation is grounded on the good old distinction, that the merit of Christ's obedienee unto death is sufficient for all, though only offertual to some ; tamels, in one view of the subject, to the elect ; in another, to all whn by faith antly for an interest in it. This makes way for general iwvitations, and shews it to be every one's duty to repent and believe the gospel; as nothing but pride, the carnal mind, and enmity to God and religion, influence men to neglect so great salvation : and, when the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit accompanies the word, sinners are made willing to accept the profered mercs, and encouraged by the general invitations, which before they sinfulig slightech

by us,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

234 The Supper with Music and Singing.

When the Interpreter had done, he takes them out into his garden again, and had them to a Tree, whose inside was all rotten and gone, and yet it grew and had leaves. Then said Mercy, What means this - This tree', said he, "whose outside is fair, and whose inside is rotten, is it, to which many may be compared that are in the Garden of God : who with their mouths speak high in behalf of God, but indeed will do nothing for him ; whose leaves are fair, but their heart good for nothing but to be tinder for the devil's tinder-box.'

Now supper was ready, the table spread, and all things set on board; so they sat down and did eat, when one had given thanks. And the Interpreter did usually entertain those that lodged with him, with music at meals ; so the minstrels played. There was also one that did sing, and a very fine voice he had. His song was this

"The Lord is only my support,

And he that doth me feed;
How can I then want any things

Whereof I stand in need ? When the song and music were ended, the Interpreter asked Christiana, what it was that at first did move her thus to betake herself to a Pilgrim's life ? Christiana answered : First, the loss of my husband came into my mind, at which I was heartily grieved: but all that was but natural affection. Then, after that, came the troubles and pilgrimage of my husband into my mind, and also how like a churl I had carvied it to him as to that. So guilt took hold of my mind, and would have drawn me into the pond; but that oppor. tunely I had a dream of the well-being of my husband, and a letter sent me by the King of that country where my husband dwells, to come to him. The dream and the letter together so wrought upon iny mind, that they forced me to

Inter. But met you with no opposition before you set out of doors ?

Chr. Yes, a neighbour of mine, one Mrs. Timorous, (she was kin to him that would have persuaded my husband to go back, for fear of the lions, she also so befooled me, for, as she called it, my intended desperate adventure : she also urged what she could to dishearten me from it; the hardship and troubles that my husband met with in the way : but all this I got over pretty well. But a dream that I had of two ill-looked ones, that I thought did plot how to make me mis

this way.

my dream.

[ocr errors]

How Mercy became a Pilgrim. 235 sarry in my journey, that hath troubled me, yea, it still runs in ny miod, aud makes me afraid of every one that I meet, , lest they should meet me to do me a mischief, and to turn me out of my way. Yea, I may tell my Lord, though I would i not every body knew it, that between this and the Gate by which we got into the way, we were both so sorely assaulted, ! that we were made to cry out murder ; and the two, that i made this assault upon us, were like the two that I saw in

Then said the Interpreter, Thy beginning is good, thy : latter end shall greatly increase." So he addressed him to Mercy, and said unto her, 'And what moved thee to come hither, sweet heart ?'

Then Mercy blushed and trembled, and for a while continued silent.

Then said he, Be not afraid, only believe, and speak thy mind.'

Then she began, and said, "Truly, Sir, my want of experience is that which makes me covet to be in silence, and that also that filleth me with fears of coming short at last. I cannot tell of visions and dreams, as my friend Christiana : 'can : nor know I what it is to mourn for my refusing of the counsel of those that were good relations.'

Inter. What was it then, dear heart, that hath prevailed with thee to do as thou hast done ?

Mer. Why, when our friend here was packing up to be gone from our Town, I and another went accidently to see

her. So we knocked at the door, and went in. When we 4 . were within, and seeing what she was doing, we asked her

what she meant ? She said, she was sent for to go to her 7 husband ; and then she up and told us how she had seen him

in a dream, dwelling in a curious place, among immortals, wearing a crown, playing upon a harp, eating and drinking at his Prince's table, and singing praises to him for the bringing him thither, &c. Now methought while she was telling these things unto us, my heart burned within me. And I said in my heart, If this be true, I will leave my ther and my mother, and the land of my nativity, and will, if I may, go along with Christiana.

So I asked her further of the truth of these things, and if i she would let me go with her ; for I saw now, that there

was no dwelling, but with the danger of ruin, any longer in our Town. But yet I came away with a heavy heart ; not

fa

[ocr errors]

236

Mercy is commended, for that I was unwilling to come away, but for that so many of my relations were left behind. And I am come with ail my heart, and will, if I may, go with Christiana, to her husband, and his King

Inter. Thy setting out is good, for thou hast given credit to the truth ; (c) thou art a Ruth, who did, for the love she bare to Naomi, and to the Lord her God, "leave father and mother, and the land of her nativity, to come out and go with a people that she knew not before. The Lord recompence thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.'

Now supper was ended, and preparation made for bed : the women were laid singly alone, and the boys by them selves. Now when Mercy was in bed, she could not sleep for joy, for that now her doubts of missing at last were re

• Rath ii. 11, 12

(c) This is a most simple definition of faith : it is the belief of the truth," as the sure testimony of God, relative to our most important concerns. When we thus credit those truths that teach us the peril of our situation as justly condemned sinners, we are moved with fear, and humbled in repentance ; and when we thus believe the report of a refage provided for us, our hopes are excited. Those truths that relate to inestimable blessings attainable by us, when really credited, kindle our fervent desires ; while such as shew, us the glory, excellency and mercy of God our Saviour, and our obligations to his redeeming grace, work by love, gratitude, and every fervent affection. This living faith inflyences a man's judgmnent, choice, and conduct; and especially induces him to receive Jesus Christ for all the purposes of salvation, and to yield himself to his service, as constrained by Jove of him and zeal for his glory.-We need no other ground for this faith, than the authenticated word of God. This may be brought to our recollection by means of distress or danger, or even in a dream, or with some very strong impression on the mind : yet true faith rests only on the word of God, according to its meaning as it stands in the Bible ; and not on the manner in which it occurs to the thoughts, or according to any new sense pué upon it in a dream, or by an impression; as this would be a new revelation. For if the words, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” should be impressed on my mind, they would contain a declaration no where made in Scripture concerning me; consequently the belief of them on this ground would be a faith not warranted by the word of God. Now as we have no reason to expect such new revelations, and as Satan can counterfeit any of these impres. sions, we must consider every thing of this kind as opening a door to enthusiasm, and the most dangerous delusions ; though many, who rest their confidence on them, have also scriptural evidence of their acceptance, wbich they overlook. On the other hand, should the following words be powerfully impressed on my mind, "Him that cometh to me I will ia no wise cast out,” or, “He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall find mercy;" I may tieduce encouragement from the words, according to the genuine meaning of them as they stand in Scripture, without any dread of delusion, or any pretence to new revelations; provided I be conscious, that I do come to Christ, and confess my sins with the sineere purpose of forsaking them. But there are so many dangers in this matter, that the more evidentis, our faith and hope are grounded wholly on the plain testimony of God, and confirmed by our subsequent experience and conduct; the safer will our course be, and the less occasion will be given to the objecrions of our despiserse

The Bath and the Seal.

237

moved further from her than ever they were before. So she lay blessing and praising God, who had such favour for her.

In the morning they arose with the sun, and prepared themselves for their departure ; but the Interpreter would have them tarry a while ; "For,' said he, 'You must orderly go from hence. Then said he to the damsel that first opened unto them, "Take them and have them into the garden to the Bath, and there wash them and make them clean from the soil which they have gathered by travelling.' Then Innocent the damsel took them, and led them into the garden, and brought them to the Bath; so she told them, that there they must wash and be clean, for so her Master would have the women to do, that called at his house as they were going on pilgrimage. Then they went in and washed, yea, they and the boys and all; and they came out of that Bath not only sweet and clean, but also much enlivened and strengthened in their joints. So when they came in, they looked fairer a deal than when they went out to the washing.

When they were returned out of the garden from the Bath, the Interpreter took them, and looked upon them, and said unto them, “Fair as the moon.” Then he called for the Seal, wherewith they used to be sealed that were washed in his Bath. So the Seal was brought, and he set his mark upon them, that they might be known in the places whither they were yet to go. Now the seal was the contents and sum of the passover, which the children of Israel did eat when they came out of the land of Egypt ;* and the mark was set between their eyes. This Seal greatly added to their beauty, for it was an ornament to their faces. It also added to their gravity, and made their countenances more like them of angels. (d)

Exod. xü, 8–10. (11) The author calls this 'The Bath of sanctification,' in a marginal note : whence we may infer, that he especially meant to intimate, that believers should constantly seek fresh supplies of grace from the Holy Spirit, to purify their hearts from the renewed deflement of sin, which their intercourse with the world will continually occasion ; and to revive and invigorate those holy affections, which in the same manner are apt to grow languid. Yet he did not intend to exclude their habitual reliance on the blood of Christ for pardon and acceptance ; for in both respects we need daily washing. The sanctification of the Spir unto obedience warrants the true Christian's "peace and joy in believing;" it gives him beauty in the sight of his brethren ; it strengthens him for every conflict and service; and the image of Christ, discernible in his spirit and conduct, seals him as a child of God and an heir of glory: while the inward consciousness of living by faith in the Son of God for all the blessings of salvation, and of experiencing all filial affectious towards God as his mconciled Father, inspires him with bumble joy and confidence.

« ForrigeFortsett »